The adoption of a physically active lifestyle very often is a stepwise process. It involves different stages of change from not thinking about the issue (precontemplation stage), to developing awareness (contemplation stage), taking action to initiate a change (preparation stage and action stage) and then sustaining the behaviour (maintenance stage). Along the stage of change continuum, people can enter and exit a stage at any point. Besides, some of them can move quickly through the stages, some may get "stuck" at a particular stage, proceed more slowly or even take a step backward before continuing towards the goal.

As people in different stages may have different needs, identifying where you are along the stage of change continuum in relation to physical activity is an important step to initiate change. Such awareness can provide you a road map for building necessary skills and knowledge to move forward from one stage to another.

What Stage Are You At?

Instructions: Answer the following questions with "Yes" or "No", and follow the arrows to find out where you are along the stage of change continuum.

This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'. Start Am I currently physically active? No Do I intend to become more physically active in the next 6 months? No Yes Precontemplation stage contemplation stage Yes Do I undertake physical activity regularly i.e. at least 5 days per week? No Yes Preparatory stage Have I been physically active on a regular basis for at least 6 months No Yes Action stage Maintenance stage This is a flowchart to help you find out where you are along the stage of change continuum by answering questions with 'Yes' or 'No'.

Moving from "No Intention To Do" to "Want To Do" Mentality

Many people in the precontemplation stage are under-aware of the health problems that can result from physical inactivity. They may feel that any change in their sedentary lifestyle is unnecessary and have various reasons for not becoming more active (such as "I do not have time", "I am not interested" or "I am too tired to be more active"). Even though those people in the contemplation stage have devoted some thought about the issue, they may experience some real or perceived barriers that prevent them from being more active. However, physical activity is essential for the health of your body and mind

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you can ask yourself what your reasons (or excuses) and barriers for not being more active are, think whether you want to be inactive for the rest of your life, and imagine what will happen to your health in the future if you maintain the present inactive status. It is thus a good time for you to appreciate what health benefits that physical activity can give you.

If you have a hectic life, finding time for exercise can sometimes be difficult. However, there are ways to overcome those common barriers for being physical active.

Getting Started and Making Physical Activity a "Must Do" Habit

To stay fit and healthy, you need to be more active and exercise regularly. If you do have some physical activities but not on a regular basis, you may need a workable physical activity plan that is accord to your interest, time availability, skills, health status or fitness level. Here are some helpful tips for developing a workable physical activity plan:

 
 

References

Let's Move. Non-communicable Disease Watch July 2009. Hong Kong SAR: Department of Health.

Prochaska JO, Velicer WF. The transtheoretical model of health behavior change. Am J Health Promot 1997; 12(1): 38-38.

Marcus BH, Forsyth LH. Motivating People to be Physically Active, 2nd Ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2009.